End Child Poverty Plan: The Power of Promise Neighborhoods

End Child Poverty in California/GRACE visit to Mission Promise Neighborhood/MEDA in San Francisco, 2019

The End Child Poverty Plan offers California a groundbreaking path to end deep child poverty for 450,000 kids and cut overall child poverty in half. Expanding California’s successful Promise Neighborhoods network is a key part of the plan.

What’s a Promise Neighborhood?

Promise Neighborhoods are powerful, family-centered networks rooted in communities. They use the power of collective impact–many programs and services working together–to support families in neighborhoods facing intense economic pressures. Promise Neighborhoods create easy entry points for services and break down red tape. They work to improve kids’ lives “from cradle to college to career,” focusing on the whole child, the whole family, and the whole community.

Promise Neighborhoods are:

  • Results driven
  • Place based (located in one specific geographic area, allowing for community strength)
  • Community powered
  • Equity focused

California currently has five Promise Neighborhoods (including our End Child Poverty in California partners Hayward Promise, Mission Promise, and YPI), and more are needed. This year Senator Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles) introduced Senate Bill 686, the California Promise Neighborhoods Act of 2019, that would expand this successful, community-centered model to more neighborhoods.

Find out more:

  1. Click here to find out more about SB 686.
  2. See a map of all Promise Neighborhoods from the California Promise Network.
  3. Read about the incredible impact of one Promise Neighborhood in the blog post below by our partners at the Mission Promise Neighborhood and MEDA (Mission Economic Development Agency) in San Francisco.

2019: THE MISSION AND BEYOND, FOR ALL CALIFORNIA KIDS

Photo from MEDA blog. Read the full, original blog post here

[…]

Our numbers [at Mission Promise Neighborhood] spoke for themselves. Over the six-plus years of our initiative, we used a shared case-management tool to connect 2,744 families with 5,590 different program referrals, ranging from housing and tenants’ rights to job readiness and health care. We were a collaborative of 20 community organizations, aligning our efforts to provide wraparound services to our students and families to work toward common goals. We broke through silos and shared data along the way. Together, we held ourselves accountable to turning the curve on community indicators.

MPN saw the following outcomes in our schools and with our partners:

  • Latino graduation rates increased from 63 percent to 88 percent
  • African American graduation rates increased from 46 percent to 93 percent
  • Ninety-four percent of elementary school families feel a sense belonging at their schools
  • Rate at which students change schools mid-year decreased from 13.9 percent to 7.9 percent
  • Eighty percent of all Latino 4-year olds in the Mission are now enrolled in preschool
  • Social emotional development scores for 3-year-olds jumped from 24 percent to 82 percent

These outcomes are even more impressive when you take into account the extreme pressures our families are experiencing: unprecedented levels of housing displacement, growing income inequality, all coupled with a national political climate translating to an assault on our community. Our collective work of providing families with coordinated access to mental health services, legal representation, asset building, housing services and more has helped MPN stabilize the Mission by using schools and affordable housing as community anchors.

The U.S. Department of Education grant is an affirmation of the work our partners have done. Our second iteration of MPN is focused on aligning with the City of San Francisco and its School District’s Beacon Initiative, expanding from four to nine schools in the Mission District, increasing our presence at early learning centers, developing parent leaders and reaching out to Family Child Care providers to give their families access to our network of supports. We estimate that we will now be serving approximately 8,000 children and their families in the Mission. With our collective-impact approach, MPN is on pace to have the scale of the solution match the scale of the challenge.

Joining with other Promise Neighborhoods
Other Promise Neighborhoods across the state have seen similar outcomes. Together, the five Promise Neighborhoods in California created a network called CPNN.  The results from the CPNN network, informed the development of a statewide plan to end child poverty. This plan includes a recommendation for the investment by the State of California into a total of 20 Promise Neighborhoods at $5 million per neighborhood, complemented by increased spending on child care, CalWORKS and much more. The plan estimates that the combination of these factors will result in benefits to state and local governments of more than $12 billion annually.

The plan lays out the seven unique characteristics of Promise Neighborhoods:

  1. Cradle-to-college-to-career continuum to move families out of poverty
  2. Place-based to focus on high-need geographies
  3. Collective impact: collaborate with partners to provide solutions at scale
  4. Align funding streams to achieve shared outcomes
  5. Results-driven, with a focus on population-level results
  6. Equity-focused and explicit in addressing disparities
  7. Community powered to address local needs and build on local strengths

Data sharing, collaboration, accountable to results, good for the economy: Promise Neighborhoods are the embodiment of what we call “good government.” MEDA will be calling for these pilot initiatives to move beyond being simply boutique operations and for them to become the normal way that government delivers services….

One community is not waiting for the State to approve funding for Promise Neighborhoods; instead, it is taking the lead in using its current budget to create Promise Neighborhoods. San Diego County has approved $4 million for a pilot Promise Neighborhood based on the success of its existing Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood. If the pilot is also successful, the plan is to create even more Promise Neighborhoods throughout that county.

Closer to home — and based on  the success of San Francisco’s Promise Neighborhood in the Mission District — we believe it’s time for the City and County of San Francisco to begin asking itself if other neighborhoods in the City would benefit from a Promise Neighborhood, particularly during this time of widening income inequality and displacement of working-class families and people of color.

From School Board to Mayor, State Superintendent of Schools to Governor, all the way to the House of Representatives, we are seeing inspiring new leaders take the reins of government. As they highlight the need for a more just society, now is the time for bold equity initiatives based on proven models. Perhaps 2020 will put us on pace to end child poverty.

After all, much can happen in a year!

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Read more about the End Child Poverty Plan strategies here. Join in by signing on to the campaign for updates.


PETITION TO OUR LEADERS: Make Ending Child Poverty a 2019 Priority

We have to make sure our California leaders know that for 2 million kids, ending child poverty can’t wait.

We’re at a key juncture as Governor Gavin Newsom revises his proposed California budget and legislators fight for their bills. SIGN ON to tell our elected leaders that the End Child Poverty Plan should be a key priority in 2019.

  • It’s comprehensive and achievable.
  • It invests in families and communities.
  • It will END extreme poverty in California for 450,000 kids.

Let’s do this! The End Child Poverty Plan letter has already been signed by over 60 esteemed California organizations. Seventeen pieces of legislation supporting the plan have already been introduced and the list is growing. We have to keep the momentum going so Governor Newsom and California State Legislators know this movement is only growing. Click to sign on:

Read the full letter below and click here for the press release. Help amplify the movement by sharing on social media:

    

Dear Governor Newsom and Budget Leaders of the California State Legislature:

We are writing as a broad coalition of Californians to ask that you urgently and immediately take actions to end deep childhood poverty and substantially reduce overall child and family poverty in California by implementing the End Child Poverty Plan.

One in five children in California live in poverty. We are the 5th largest economy in the world with the highest percentage and largest number of children living in poverty of any state in the nation. This is a human and a fiscal crisis that we have the ability to solve.

According to the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, the toxic stress of extreme poverty has a life-long negative impact on a child’s brain development. The same research indicates that the impact can be reversed by making the proven investments recommended by California’s Child Poverty Task Force that reduce or eliminate the need for more costly remediation in the future.

The Task Force’s End Child Poverty Plan is comprehensive, research-based, and community-informed. When fully implemented, the plan will end deep poverty for the 450,000 children in California living under 50% of the federal poverty line within four years and substantially reduce California’s highest-in-the-nation level of overall child and family poverty.

As children’s advocates, non-profits, religious leaders, business organizations, and concerned individuals we urge that the comprehensive End Child Poverty Plan be acted on immediately.

Reducing child and family poverty by 50% will also have a net positive impact on state and local government budgets of an estimated minimum of $12 billion annually in reduced remedial health, social service and educational expenditures and increased tax revenues.

The Governor’s proposed budget is an excellent starting point to begin reducing childhood poverty, especially for children living in deep poverty. The California Legislature can take the important step to eliminate deep poverty among families with children in the short term and to reduce overall childhood poverty by fifty percent by 2023 by adopting the Task Force’s science-based budget proposals. They include:

Primary Investments

  • Increase grants in the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program to bring families up above deep poverty as proposed in the Budget Act of 2018.
  • Increase and expand access to the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Adopt a Targeted Child Tax Credit (TCTC) that would put money back in the pocket of families and put it to work in the economy. This proposal also serves to provide a rental subsidy for families living in deep poverty or experiencing homelessness. Research conducted by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality shows that cash or near cash subsidies have a long-term positive impact on reducing childhood poverty and increasing the overall economic health of a community. The TCTC alone, when fully implemented will eliminate deep child poverty within four years.

Foundational Investments

  • Guarantee access to early care and education for children 0–8 years of age who are living in poverty in order to support child early development and families’ employment, education, health and upward mobility.
  • Expand voluntary home visiting programs to support pregnant women and families with young children.
  • Add 20 state-funded Promise Neighborhoods offering coordinated, community-driven support services.
  • Secure Healthcare for All Californians.
  • Fully fund transitional housing programs and supports for foster care youth up to the age of 21.

We urge these investments for the children of California today, to support the California Dream for each of our children.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

Also signed and supported by:

GRACE

Children Now

Children’s Defense Fund

County Welfare Directors Association of California

First 5 CA

First 5 Los Angeles

Fresno EOC Street Saints

Home Start, Inc.

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

St. John’s Well Child and Family Center

Western Center on Law and Poverty

Youth Policy Institute

The Actors Gang

Alameda County Community Food Bank

Alliance for Children’s Rights

American Academy of Pediatrics

Barrio Logan College Institute

California Alternative Payment Program Association (CAPPA)

California Association of Food Banks

California Catholic Conference

California Emerging Technology Fund

California Interfaith Coalition

CalEITC4ME

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

Child Care Law Center

Child Care Resource Center

Children’s Advocacy Institute

Children’s Institute

Children’s Network of Solano County

Clinica Romero

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Cradle to Career Fresno County

First 5 Alameda

First 5 Association of CA

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County

Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission

Friends Committee on Legislation of California

Good Samaritan

Jamestown Community Center (The)

Jewish Center for Justice

John Burton Advocates for Youth

JPAC – Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California

Lutheran Office of Public Policy- CA

Marin Promise Neighborhoods

Maryvale

Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)

Mission Graduates

National Association of Social Workers

National Center for Youth Law

National Council for Jewish Women

National Foster Youth Institute

Parent Voices

Pathways LA

Policy Link

Rise Together Bay Area

SALEF (Salvadorian American Leadership and Educational Fund)

Shields for Families

South Bay Community Services

United Way Bay Area

United Way California

United Way of Greater Los Angeles

 

cc: Members of the California State Legislature


PRESS RELEASE: State Poverty Task Force Issues Plan to End Deep Child Poverty

For Immediate Release

Contact: Yusef Robb, 323-384-1789

STATE POVERTY TASK FORCE ISSUES PLAN TO END DEEP CHILD POVERTY IN

FOUR YEARS; WOULD AFFECT 450K CA CHILDREN

Action Plan Would Also Reduce Overall Child Poverty in California by 50%, Affecting 1.9 Million Children Yearly

SACRAMENTO — The state Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force issued a concrete plan today to end deep child poverty in California in just four years when fully implemented, affecting 450,000 children. Key elements of the plan include guaranteed childcare and early childhood education for children in poverty aged 0-8, a targeted child tax credit, and increasing enrollment in critical existing services through expanded outreach and improved technology.

The action plan would also reduce overall child poverty in California by 50 percent over 20 years, affecting 1.9 million children each year.

“We present the report from the Lifting Children and Family Out of Poverty Task Force, with a great sense of both urgency and hope,” stated Task Force Co-Chairs Will Lightbourne, Director, California Department of Social Services, and Conway Collis, GRACE CEO. “When implemented, these recommendations will end deep child and family poverty in California. California will become the first state in America to have done so and will provide a model for the country,”

“When it comes to poverty in California, children are the most vulnerable and suffer the worst. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem, but this Task Force Report shows that right now we have the opportunity to change the direction of the lives of children and ultimately the future of California,” said Assemblywoman Autumn R. Burke (D-Inglewood). “The Task Force’s recommendations are rooted in sound, evidence-based data. The research proves that these investments in our children are not only cost-effective, but key to unlocking opportunities in their lives. This roadmap builds upon the work of the past and sets us on course to bend the arc of California towards justice. This report shows we can, we should, and we must eliminate deep child poverty now.”

AB1520, authored by Assemblywoman Burke and sponsored by GRACE, directed the California Department of Social Services to convene the Task Force to develop a research-and-data-driven plan to inform policymaking by the next governor and the legislature to end deep child poverty and reduce overall childhood poverty by 50 percent.

Governor-elect Gavin Newsom said he would make ending child poverty a “North Star” of his administration. This plan would end deep child poverty by the end of his first term.

“The Task Force approached its job by shedding all sacred cows and asking a simple question: ‘Can we build an evidence-based plan that ends deep child poverty in California?’ We have shown that indeed we can. By drawing on the best data, the best research, and the inspiring ideas of community leaders, the Task Force has put together a plan that will make us the first state in the country that ends deep child poverty. It’s not a band-aid plan; it’s not a stop-gap plan — it’s a back-to-fundamentals plan that eliminates deep child poverty by taking on its root causes,” said David Grusky, Ph.D., Director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality and a formal researcher to the Task Force, whose research and expertise was essential to its evidence-based approach and overall development.

“Having experienced prolonged periods of poverty as a child, I can tell you that poverty’s cruelty not only permeates a child’s body, but their spirit too,” said Jessica Bartholow of the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the Task Force’s Safety-Net Subcommittee Chairperson. “In my 20 years of anti-poverty organizing, program development, and policy advocacy, I have never witnessed such an earnest attempt to design a future where no child is humiliated or harmed by the insult of poverty.”

“This is not some statement of general principles. The evidence shows that when this plan is fully implemented, California will end deep child poverty in the near-term and dramatically reduce overall child poverty in the long-term. That would change hundreds of thousands of lives,” said Task Force Co-Chair and GRACE CEO, Conway Collis. “The majority of California families in poverty are working families, and they simply can’t get ahead with the cost of living and the way our systems are currently structured. This plan provides the help that California’s families need to break out of poverty. It is based on comprehensive research from Stanford, Cal, and the best research in the country, along with extensive community input. This is about results and applying a data-driven, evidence-based, community informed approach.”

The Task Force Report also elicited strong support from the business community.

“Now is the time to focus on the type of economy we hope to build for our state’s shared future prosperity. The Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty report offers a roadmap for increasing California’s capacity to support economic growth and mobility,” said Task Force Member Matthew Horton, Associate Director, California Center, Milken Institute.

David Rattray, executive vice president, Center for Educational Excellence and Talent Development, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce added:

“This plan offers our state the opportunity to eliminate an enormous burden on our budget and our economy. It’s not just fiscally responsible, it’s fiscally and economically necessary. Additionally, this data will continue to amplify our efforts in ensuring all children have access to quality education from cradle to career.”

Additional responses from California leaders and Task Force members:

“The number of children living in deep poverty is a public health crisis in California and these recommendations are important steps to stem the tide of the crisis. In particular, the CalWORKs grant increases and the targeted child tax credits are effective and efficient ways to ensure that children suffering the most have the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives. There is no time to spare, we must act now on policy recommendations that will reverse this crisis,” said Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association.

“To truly lift children out of poverty, we must start during pregnancy, and address both the parent and child’s needs, including high-quality child care, paid family leave, and home visiting support. That is why the recommendations of the Child Poverty Task Force are so critical. Guaranteed early care for children 0–8 in deep poverty would be a lifeline for parents to help them create pathways out of poverty,” said Task Force Member Camille Maben, Executive Director, First 5 California.

“I cannot emphasize enough how detrimental poverty and deep poverty is to a child’s health and wellbeing. Poor children are more at risk of having developmental delays, behavioral problems, experiencing obesity, as well as increased stress, which can lead to depression and other physical or mental ailments. Implementing the recommendations of this task force would be a life-changer for millions of children across the state,” said Shimica Gaskins, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund–California and Task Force’s Special Populations Subcommittee Chairperson.

“The early years are ground-zero for California’s poverty epidemic. We have an opportunity to break an inter-generational cycle of poverty and that work begins with our kids,” said Task Force Member Kim Pattillo Brownson, Vice President of Policy and Strategy, First 5 LA and the Task Force’s Early Childhood Subcommittee Chairperson.

“One of our foundation’s areas of focus is strengthening children and families to prevent referrals to foster care. The report from the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force does an excellent job of outlining the challenge and offering key solutions to reduce child poverty in California by strengthening families,” said Task Force Member Winnie Wechsler, Executive Director, Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, Pritzker Foster Care Initiative.

“We believe that health is a fundamental human right, and the fact that the Task Force understood the direct relationship between health status and poverty and made strong recommendations that will improve the health of California’s children, is profound. Once again, California is a model for the nation,” said Task Force Member Jim Mangia, CEO of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and the Task Force’s Health Subcommittee Chairperson.

Task Force Member Brian King, of Fresno EOC Street Saints, called the plan “an agile approach to make sure we don’t just move the needle on the issue of poverty, but eliminate it altogether.”

“It is no secret that many of the youth who find their way into California’s juvenile justice system live in poverty. We appreciate the Task Force’s practical policy recommendations to reduce poverty for California’s youth. CPOC strongly supports the important mission of the Task Force,” said Task Force Member and San Francisco Chief Probation Officer Allen A. Nance, Chief Probation Officers of California.

“Families in poverty struggle to find stable employment, housing, access to health care, healthy meals, and a quality education,” said Iris Zuñiga, Executive Vice President, Youth Policy Institute and the Task Force’s Coordinated Services Subcommittee Chairperson. “Place-based strategies like Promise Neighborhoods provide access to high-quality coordinated services to move families out of poverty in the short-term and decrease the chance that poverty will continue into the next generation.”

“These recommendations will advance efforts to build a comprehensive system of services to help move Californians out of poverty. The data sharing recommendations will improve the coordination and evaluation of the state’s various anti-poverty programs,” said Daniel Rounds, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Task Force’s Workforce Training and Support Subcommittee Chairperson.

“With the highest rate of child poverty than any other state, California must prioritize setting the standard for supporting the well-being of children. The Task Force’s report provides the roadmap to support children in deepest poverty starting at birth. It’s time to move forward on these recommendations and ensure all of our children have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Ted Lempert, President, Children Now.

“California is a place of opportunity and innovation, but it’s also a state where too many children are living in poverty. The issues the Task Force raises around early childhood, education, and workforce are especially aligned with Ballmer Group’s belief that every child, regardless of zip code or family circumstance, deserves a chance to achieve the American Dream,” said Task Force member Nina Revoyr, Executive Director-Los Angeles, Ballmer Group.

The report issued by the Task Force pegs the cost of the four-year plan to eliminate deep child poverty for 450,000 California children starting at 1.6 billion the first year. If concentrated as a population, 450,000 would represent the state’s eighth largest city — larger than Oakland, twice as large as San Bernardino, and just smaller than Long Beach. When fully realized, savings generated by lifting these children from poverty would total $12 billion annually, on an ongoing basis, representing a dramatic return on investment.

See report: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

See the report and additional Task Force information on the CDSS site here.

Task Force members: https://bit.ly/2xkBdR1 (EDS: For interview, contact Robb, above)

California has the highest number of children and highest percentage of children living in poverty of any state in the nation — almost 2 million children, who represent one out of every five California kids. Deep poverty is defined as families living at or below 50 percent of the federal poverty line, or less than about $12,500 for a family of four. In addition, 204,000 California children experience homelessness.

GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage), was formed by the Daughters of Charity in 2012 and is dedicated to research, education, and advocacy to reduce child and family poverty in California. After collaborating on groundbreaking research with the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, last year GRACE sponsored legislation authored by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke that created the state Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force, which was directed to develop a comprehensive plan to end deep child poverty and reduce California’s nation-leading level of child and family poverty.

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Campaign Launch! The Head and the Heart

Let’s talk about your head and your heart.

Child poverty is upsetting. It’s frustrating. It’s also a problem we’re smart enough to solve. That’s why we’re launching our campaign to ensure that there are no excuses. Whether you are the type of person who makes decisions using your head or your heart, we have the facts that will convince you that we can end child poverty.

There are a lot of myths about poverty — that it’s a choice, for one. Not only is that false, it doesn’t make any sense. Kids have no control over their circumstances, and we have a moral imperative to reach out and do something.

If that doesn’t move you, think about it this way:

Poverty is terrible for our state’s economy. It reduces productivity and increases crime. Expanding childhood services and intervening early has a 7-to-1 return on investment. Want to go back in time and buy Apple stock? This is like that, only righteous.

Learn with your head and feel with your heart, and use the information there to get others involved.

We’re Californians. Together we have built the most progressive, powerful, forward-thinking state in the country. We’re saving the planet and inventing cars that drive themselves. We’ve got this!


Stay tuned! Our New Campaign Launch Is Around the Corner

We’re coming off an exciting win with the governor signing AB 1520, the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act, and now we’re taking our work to the next level.

We’re here to show California that we can end child poverty. Our new Head and Heart Campaign launches soon!

For now, take a sneak peek at these two videos from the campaign:

                      

Help us share the new videos to let fellow Californians know we can solve our child poverty crisis.

 


Letter to the Editor

From our CEO, Conway Collis:

Here’s what we know: when people learn that California has the highest poverty rate in the country they’re shocked, then outraged, and then ready for action.

We know that people will support legislative goals to end child poverty if they know the reality of the issue. So, last week I wrote a letter to the editor of the LA Times after an article was published with misleading information about child poverty in California. It is exactly these kinds of errors that underline the importance of our efforts to increase awareness of the severity of child poverty in California.

Do me a favor: share my very short article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

(If you’re old school like me, you can share the link to this post or copy and paste the letter in an email.)

To the editor: The Times’ article on the Census Bureau report on income levels was informative but misleading in regard to the percentage of people living in poverty, especially in California. (“American households finally earn more than they did in 1999,” Sept. 12)

The article did not use or report on the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of living (such as the price of housing) and is generally considered a much more accurate measure of people’s financial situation. That is especially important in California.

Under that official measure, 20.4% of Californians live in poverty, the highest percentage of any state in the country. That percentage also is virtually unchanged since 2013. Nationwide, 14.7% of people live in poverty under this measure.

Reporting on the more accurate Supplemental Poverty Measure is crucial because the lack of public awareness about the human and fiscal crisis of poverty in California is a major reason that comprehensive, sustained actions have not been taken to reduce it.

Article originally published in the LA Times.

California, which is so often the beacon of progressive politics in the US, has the highest rate of child poverty in the country. We must change this.

I hope this makes you mad (but ready for action). And I hope it compels all of us to fight for our kids.

Thank you for all that you do,

Sincerely,
Conway Collis


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